Installing network card drivers in VMware ESXi after install with vihostupdate
This is not something that I’ve had to do very often. But on a recent customer engagement I was working with the client on setting up some new hosts that were recently purchased. These hosts were purchased with Embedded ESXi on them and additional PCI NICs were added to the config. The additional NICs did not have drivers available in the base ESXi build. Shortly after bringing the first host online we noticed that only the onboard NICs showed up in the list.
A quick search on Google for the Intel part number for the NIC lead me to the family name for the adapter. Then a search over at VMware lead me to the download page for VMware that provided the .ISO file to load the drivers into ESXi for the family of adapters. The process took only a few minutes and since this is something that does not come up that often I thought a short write up might help someone.
There are a few ways that this could be done, since we happened to be running ESXi the options were to use the vMA or vCLI. Since this was a new install and a vMA was not setup yet I just quickly tossed vCLI on a server. Then a quick download of the driver .ISO from VMware and unzip the package into a folder on the server with vCLI installed on it. If you wanted to use the vMA you could mount the .ISO to the virtual CD-ROM of the VM and issue the command against it.
Since I was using vCLI all I needed to do was point the command to a local folder. Here is a sample of the command used to perform the patch.
vihostupdate –server HOSTNAME –install –bundle c:foldername_of_file.zip
To run this command your host must be in Maintenance mode and it will then take just a couple of minutes to execute. After the update completes a reboot of the host is needed and then the cards should be available for use.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design